WNC is committed to training new farmers and working towards increased inclusivity in the agricultural community so that people of every race, ethnicity, faith, gender identity, and economic circumstance are supported and celebrated. We strive to create more equitable research and education environments that reflect the diversity of those they impact. The historic exclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and historically marginalized communities in these initiatives has limited our shared potential.
WNC operates on the historic lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, a fact that has erroneously been excluded from our story. We also recognize that WNC’s agricultural approach of utilizing the techniques of “regenerative agriculture” uses traditional practices implemented by indigenous peoples who have stewarded the earth for millennia.
WNC acknowledges that violence and injustice against BIPOC has marred the history of agriculture, from the occupation of native lands and genocide of native peoples, to slavery, restrictive land ownership, and discriminatory practices in agricultural labor.
To counter this history and the continued violence and oppression within the agricultural community, we pledge to diligently learn, listen, reflect, and take action.
We now are demanding more from agriculture, not just to produce more food, fiber and energy, but also to provide environmental services such as equitable access to clean air, water, habitat and biodiversity, while being a catalyst for change in how we interact with each other and our environment. Our future agriculture must be liberating, not confining, and consciously work to undo institutional injustices.
The current work we are doing to imbed and center equity throughout the organization will be reflected in this living document.
Wolfe’s Neck Center recognizes that it farms on the historic lands of the Abenaki people, members of the Wabanaki Confederation of Native people in Maine. We acknowledge and honor the tribes who comprise the Wabanaki Confederacy – the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki, and Mi’kmaq peoples – who have stewarded these lands for centuries. We respect the traditional values of these Tribes and affirm their inherent sovereignty in this territory. We support their efforts for land and water protection and restoration, when issues of sovereignty, and encroachment on their sacred sites is ongoing.
The Wabanaki are the first peoples of northern New England, and have lived on this land for over 16,000 years. Wabanaki means people of the dawn, and Maine is the first place in the United States that the sunrise touches the Atlantic Coast.
A recent archeological survey identified 13 indigenous sites on the shores and islands of Casco Bay and more than 100,000 deposits of artifacts, most dating to 4,000 years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that nearby Mere Point and Lane’s Island were important ceremonial sites. The Little River at Wolfe’s Neck Center and sites in the state park and at the end of Wolfe’s Neck Road may have been seasonal settlements for fishing.
It is estimated that in 1600, there were between 10,000 and 20,000 Wabanaki people in southern Maine before European settlement. Those living west of the Penobscot had begun to mix farming with hunting, fishing, growing corn, squash, and beans in villages inland up the rivers. The nearest Indigenous settlement to Wolfe’s Neck was at Merrymeeting Bay.
Since Europeans invaded in the 16th century, Wabanaki people have suffered a 96% population depletion due to genocide, disease, land dispossession and forced removal, decimation of traditions through Christian conversion, warfare between Europeans, and scalp bounties. Within the remaining four tribes, there are nearly 8,000 tribal members alive today.
Sources: Maine Wabanaki REACH, Abbe Museum, Maine Public, Mainememory.net, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Native Governance Center.
Wolfe’s Neck Center is committed to moving our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts forward. We recognize that this work is challenging and requires ongoing learning, listening, reflection, and action. We welcome any feedback for ways that we can improve these important efforts.
Click below to let us know how we are doing, to provide resources, or to offer suggestions for how we could continue our growth.